by Jason Drury
Portsmouth is located on the south coast of the scenic county of Hampshire. The city has a long established historic naval presence. The city of Portsmouth was established in the year 1623, being a community that swears by its influence to world history. As well as being an important naval town, Portsmouth has a nostalgic feel with its cobblestone streets, horse drawn carriages, museums and famous historic buildings. Boasting over one hundred restaurants, antique shops and a huge music hall called the Portsmouth Music Hall. You will fall in love with the ambience that this historic city offers as well as the coastal aspect of the place.
Places of Interest:
A place of historic significance, you can explore Lord Nelsons flagship, HMS Victory and visit Queen Victorias battleship, HMS Warrior 1860. You could also have a look at Henry Vllls Mary Rose and retrace the history of the Royal Navy at the Royal Naval Museum. Other attractions include Charles Dickens birthplace, the D-Day Museum featuring the Overlord Embroidery, Southsea Castle, the Royal Marines Museum, and Portsmouth Cathedral.
Royal Marines Museum: This is a grand museum situated in a former officers’ mess with sweeping stairways, chandeliers and fine paintings. There are also beautiful grounds in which you can relax and enjoy a quiet picnic with your friends. The Exhibition gallery features a talking head of Hannah Snell, audiovisual shows, interactive games, and a collection of over 7,000 medals.
Eastney Beam Engine House Industrial Archaeology: This museum contains a pair of magnificent James Watt beam engines, stationed in their original high Victorian engine house of 1887. There are also a variety of other pumping engines on display here.
Natural History Museum: In this museum you can see the geology of the Portsmouth area and a full-size reconstruction of Dinosaur Iguanodon and other fossil remains. You can enter here through the Riverbank scene with a fresh water aquarium and have a look at the different kinds of fish on display. You can also see the Ice Age displays and early mammals and birds here.
The Spinnaker Tower: This is one wonder which is absolutely breath-taking.You can experience the stunning views from this unique 170m tower, visible from miles around. This is the newest landmark which is change the skyline of Portsmouth!
Aspex Gallery: Here, tourists can experience the most creative and contemporary visual arts; locally, nationally and internationally. There are programs of solo, grouped and themed exhibitions mostly centred on the work of younger or emerging artists.
The 1642 Living History Village, Historic Site, Gosport: This is a representational Hampshire village set in the year 1642. You could go back in time and experience this replica of how it used to be with timber and thatched buildings. Occupants dress and speak in 17th century style.
Things to do:
Portsmouth is also called the Waterfront city. It has a fantastic range of restaurants, bars and cafés to soothe your thirst and satisfy your taste buds. Of course, it will suit your budget too. As far as shops are concerned, the choice is huge.
Shopping: The Southsea, this major shopping complex has two department stores as well as a range of boutique shops. There are florists, diamond merchants and antique dealers; even interior decorators to cater to your every shopping need. Of course, the cafes, restaurants and bars are numerous too. There is Gunwharf Quays with 80 outlets that sell big brand names for a discount prices. It is open seven days a week. The City Centre is famous for its branded and trendy stores. The shopping precinct on Commercial Road, the indoor mall at Cascades, and the street markets on Thursday, Friday and Saturday are very popular and well worth a visit.
Eating and drinking: There are restaurants and small bistros that offer cuisine ranging from Indian to Italian, Turkish to Thai. If you want to meet with friends or enjoy your weekend, there is always a themed location to drink and socialize.
Special Events: Two of Portsmouth’s most renowned personalities have events to commemorate their lives in 2006. Brunel 200 Portsmouth will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who was born in Portsmouth on 9th of April 1806.The famous author Richard Lancelyn Green will be releasing his wonderful collection of Conan Doyle-related books, papers and assorted memorabilia in the later half of 2006.
Transport: Portsmouth has regular bus routes connecting the main visitor areas. In fact, a new pilot bus service for all you night owls has been inaugurated and is operational on Friday and Saturday nights. The Nightrunner will start services from South Parade Pier at 1.25am and 2.25 am and at Winston Churchill Avenue at 1.30am and 2.30am. There are currently 234 licensed taxis working in the city providing 24-hour service.
Food and Drink:
Indian Palace: Indian Palace in Gunwharf Quays is famous for authentic and traditional spicy and tasty Indian and moghlai dishes.
Arbuckles: This small and friendly restaurant is famous for chicken and vegetarian burgers. Booking is required.
A fistful of Tacos: This place at South Sea serves authentic sea food and vegeterian dishes as well.
Café Citrus is a popular café bar in Albert Road, Southsea. It is perfect for a romantic rendevous or a friendly get-together.
Hotels and Accomodation:
Whether you are looking for a short stay or a longer holiday, Portsmouth offers a comprehensive range of accommodation from small, private bed and breakfasts to the plusher four-star hotels. It is always better if you reserve your accommodation in advance. The tarrifs for hotels, accomodations and guest houses are generally quoted as per person, based on a couple sharing, and include VAT (17.5%). All prices for self-catering units are quoted as per unit per week inclusive of VAT (17.5%).
Inn Lodge Portsmouth
Royal Beach Hotel
Express by Holiday Inn Portsmouth
Tulip Inn Portsmouth
Best Western Queens Hotel
The city of Portsmouth is abuzz with entertainment and activity around the clock. Catering for all diverse tastes such as comedy, film, football, live music, bowling, literature and arts. At Gunwharf Quays there is a bowling arena and a state of the art 12 screen cinema, with a further 9 screen cinema at Port Solent. The Kings Theatre Trust Limited at Albert Road, Portsmouth is famous for live music and theatrical events. No 6 Independent Cinema and Vue Cinemas are two of the 4 major cinema houses here.
All in all, Portsmouth is a city on the sea packed with a beautiful mix of history and heritage. Add to it the variety on offer with its bars and restaurants as well as a comprehensive program of events, you know that you have discovered the right city to spend your holiday or short stay. Being situated on the coast is a huge bonus too!.
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